Mississippi Public Universities
IHL Press Release
PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROCESS MOVES FORWARD
10/5/2010 - Jackson, Miss.

The search for the next presidents of Alcorn State University and Jackson State University continues to move forward and will include the first round of interviews later this month. Board of Trustees President Dr. Bettye Neely appointed Board Search Committees to spearhead the process earlier this year.

"Since being appointed, the Board Search Committees have held listening sessions on each of the campuses," said Dr. Neely. "The listening sessions enabled the committees to hear the voices of those representing every facet of the campus community, including students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni and civic, community and business leaders."

In addition, the Board Search Committees formed Campus Search Advisory Committees on each campus. Members, who were nominated or volunteered to serve, also represent each constituency group. The Campus Search Advisory Committees, with approximately 30 members on each campus, play an integral role in the search process. They have carefully read and rated each application. In addition, several members, representing the various constituency groups, will participate in the interview process along with the Board Search Committee.

"The Board of Trustees has the Constitutional responsibility to select the presidents for Mississippi's eight public universities," said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. "While the Mississippi Constitution gives the Board the authority to select university leaders without input from anyone, the Board believes an inclusive process that includes hearing the ideas and concerns of the campus community will result in appointing the best possible candidates to lead the universities now and in the years to come."

The Board of Trustees, including Board Search Committee members, and the members of the Campus Search Advisory Committees keep the names of the applicants confidential throughout the process to protect the privacy of those applying.

"Keeping the names of candidates confidential ensures that we have a quality pool," said Bounds. "Nationally, we have seen those in public positions face retribution when it was revealed that they were seeking new positions. We certainly do not want to discourage the best leaders in higher education from applying for fear of the consequences they may face with their current institutions."

The Board Search Committees are in the process of reviewing the ratings assigned to each candidate by each member of the Campus Search Advisory Committee. In consultation with the Board of Trustees, the Committees will invite a small number of candidates to the first round of interviews, which will be held October 20-22, 2010.

"Having a process that includes the campus community, yet ensures the privacy of the candidates is essential for reaching our goal," said Percy Norwood, President, Alcorn State University National Alumni Association and Co-Chair of the ASU Campus Search Advisory Committee. "Our goal is to find the kind of visionary leader that Alcorn State University needs."

Progress on the search is available on the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Web site at www.mississippi.edu/ihl. The site lists each step of the 20-step process with a graph indicating where the search stands now.

"I am glad the Board of Trustees has made sure that students have been represented in the process," said Andross K. Milteer, president of the Jackson State University Student Government Association and a member of the JSU Campus Search Advisory Committee. "I encourage everyone to remain faithful and patient with the process, so that the Board can find the best candidate for all constituency groups, including the students. After all, students will be most affected by the decision."

After two rounds of interviews, a preferred candidate for each campus will be announced. The preferred candidate will meet with representatives from various constituency groups, including students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni and civic, community and business leaders in a visit to the campus in late fall. At the end of the campus visit, the Board of Trustees will hold a meeting on campus and announce either that a new president has been named or that the search continues.

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